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With Words and Music

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With Words and Music

Published 1937

A gangster revives the careers of a faded Gilbert and Sullivan troupe in an elaborate scheme to get back at the girl who rejected him. The plot is farfetched, to say the least, but in my opinion, Robert Armstrong turns in a better performance in this obscure B musical than in King Kong. And the musical numbers, taken from a variety of G and S operettas, are great and performed authentically.
Robert Armstrong .... Jimmie Allen
Irene Hervey .... Pearl
Paula Stone .... Mabel
Edward Brophy .... Pie
Vivian Hart .... Beatrice
William Danforth .... Howard Hathaway
Holmes Herbert .... Charles Dillon
Gwili Andre .... Flo
Caritz Crawford .... Yum Yum
Max Davidson .... Max
Arthur Kay .... Adolph
Wilbur Mack
Frank Moulan .... Mark/Koko
Horace Murphy .... Joe
Bert Roach .... Sugar Plum
Allen Rogers .... John
Mildred Rogers .... Peggy
Vera Ross .... Beatrice Hathaway
Josef Swickard .... Jonesy
Richard Tucker .... Charles Dillon
Harry Tyler .... Chuck

Run time 77 minutes
Producer Andrew Stone
Production Company Grand National
Audio/Visual sound, black and white
Contact Information


Reviewer: Dark Moon - - February 23, 2013
Subject: Thick hide required

If you can get past the taxi dance hall (yes, the dancers were just that crass, and preyed upon lonely men like that) and midnight "ride" (they sure do take him for a ride) scenes, you may come to feel as I did that there is nothing Armstrong's character could possibly do that would be sufficient payback. Though Wikipedia has an article on this film with a plot summary that makes it sound somewhat appealing (except for how could anyone ever want to marry a piece of work like that?), I still could not get past those initial scenes, and bailed out early. Such things raise up too many old ghosts, and I have never been into horror stories. Pity, because I too appreciate G&S's music.

"Ah yes, 'divorce'…from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet." —Robin Williams
Reviewer: musicallan - - August 29, 2012
Subject: Program booklet for the film
Found this link to an original movie program, which gives lots of background info on the film. Fascinating!
Reviewer: mesiw - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 22, 2009
Subject: a mob of fun
A delightful little musical. Great to see the old
G & S staged. If you don't try to figure it all out and just enjoy the show for what it is then it is a good movie
Reviewer: della00 - - January 1, 2009
Subject: mp4 file did not work for me.
see above
Reviewer: ERD. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 11, 2007
Subject: "With Words And Music" still has a charm
While the script is dated, and probably was considered mediocre even when it was filmed in 1937, the acting, musical numbers,and direction make this production entertaining and worth watching. The film still has a certain charm. Better to watch this then some of the newer movies featured on satellite & cable television.
Reviewer: RipJarvis - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 9, 2007
Subject: Almost a Damon Runyon Meets Gilbert & Sullivan
This is not a film for those who don't like anything without explosions. There is what would be regarded today as a slow opening, but everything pays off in the end. Yes, it is sappy and melodramatic with a side order of saccharin, but that is not always bad. If you like Gilbert & Sullivan, and you like a bit of a caper now and then, you may just find this to be a slice of sugarry goodness.
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